By Madeleine Wright

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pent-up demand for travel has led to a parking crunch at Philadelphia International Airport, and officials are warning that parking spots are full. The parking crunch at PHL is catching a lot of passengers by surprise as they get ready to head out of town for the busy Easter travel weekend.

The airport said as of Wednesday morning all five of its parking garages are full. That includes 12,000 parking spots that are no longer available.

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Separately, the airport has an economy lot with 7,000 parking spots, which was very popular, but that has been closed for the last two years because of the pandemic.

Airport officials say the demand for parking dropped to zero at that time because people didn’t feel safe flying. It was costing PHL several million dollars to run the shuttles from the economy lot to the airport, so they made a decision to close it down.

A portion of the economy lot that includes 2,000 parking spots will re-open Thursday, April 21, but that won’t be in time for Easter. The people who drive the shuttles have to go through training and buses have to be inspected.

“Unfortunately, we just weren’t able to get it open before the Easter vacation,” PHL Chief Revenue Officer Jim Tyrrell said.

And 5,000 other economy lot parking spots will stay closed because the land is being re-developed to accommodate aeronautical facilities.

Adam Fluharty was in panic mode as he, his wife, and daughter were trying to catch a flight to Puerto Rico. When they drove to PHL, they had nowhere to put their SUV.

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“All the garages are closed, the economy parking lots are closed. No parking at all, period,” Fluharty said. “That’s very frustrating. I had no idea when I came here that was the problem. If they would have told us beforehand when we were booking, we would have found alternative ways to get here.”

One passenger says even though the garages are full, he was able to find a parking spot on the roof.

“People have to come and go so they’re not full forever cause there’s a constant rotation in and out,” traveler Leonard Dade said. “But I don’t know if everybody else is that lucky.”

Fluharty says his wife found a parking spot far away so the family was able to make their flight to San Juan.

Airport officials are urging passengers to take a train, taxi or ridesharing service to the airport.

If you have to bring your car, make a reservation at any one of the nine offsite parking services. To reserve a spot, click here.

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Make sure you get to the airport three hours before your flight to avoid any stress.

Madeleine Wright